UN INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR the Elimination of VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN & CAUCASUS 16 DAYS 2002
VIOLENCE against WOMEN
a global epidemic…..and it is growing!
Kofi Annan UN Secretary-General
is a scourge that preys on women and girls of ALL nations, of ALL cultures. It
is gender-based violence — and it continues to grow, encouraged by the silence
surrounding the issue and excused by reference to cultural norms.
At the dawn of the 21st Century it is a very negative
reflection of global society that violence against women is increasing
throughout the world. Gender-based
violence is the social, psychological and economic subordination of women and
occurs in ALL societies. Violence against women is a complex phenomenon deeply
rooted in the way society is composed — cultural beliefs, power relations,
economic power imbalances, and the masculine ideal of male dominance.
In adopting the 1993 Declaration on the Elimination of Violence
Against Women, the UN General Assembly defined the problem as "any act of
gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical,
sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such
acts, coercion, or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public
or private life."
violence occurs within the home or in the wider community and women are
vulnerable to this violence at all stages of life, even before they are born,
through female infanticide. The UN
estimates that over 60 million girls are ‘missing’ due to ‘son
The problem is of such a worrying scale that a few years ago the United Nations selected the twenty-fifth of November as the special UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. On the 17 December 1999, the General Assembly at its 83rd plenary meeting of the fifty-fourth session, on the basis of the Report of the Third Committee (A/54/598 and Corr.1 and 2), adopted Resolution 54/134 on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
General Assembly expressed alarm that endemic violence against women was
impeding women’s opportunities to achieve legal, social, political and
economic equality in society. The Assembly reiterated that the term “violence
against women” refers to acts capable of causing physical, sexual or
psychological harm, whether in public or private life.
UN General Assembly invited Governments, the relevant agencies, bodies, funds
and programmes of the United Nations system, and other international
organisations and non-governmental organisations, to organise on that day
activities designed to raise public awareness of the problem of violence against
women. The date of November 25th was chosen to mark the
death of the Mirabal sisters: three political activists in the Dominican
Republic who were assassinated during the Trujillo dictatorship in the early
sixties. Their violent deaths
inspired an anti-Trujillo movement and the repressive regime was brought to an
end. Since that time, the Mirabal
sisters have become international symbols of the victimization of women in the
fight against gender violence.
CAUCASUS LEADS THE WAY
25th November also marks the beginning of the CAUCASUS 16 DAYS
of Activism Against Gender Violence.
Pida Ripley, the founder/Director of WomenAid International, developed
the unique concept of combining two global campaigns that aim to eliminate
violence against women, ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence’
and the ‘White Ribbon Campaign’. Both these global campaigns
were introduced and
promoted in Georgia during 2000, establishing the first nationally
coordinated '16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence' and ‘White
Ribbon Campaign’ in the world. Following
the success of this Georgian initiative WomenAid International using this
twin-track strategy, established
CAUCASUS 16 DAYS, the first regional coordination of these two global
CAUCASUS 16 DAYS of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign
facilitates active participation of civil society actors in three countries in
transition and strengthens the emerging Caucasus collaborative network against
gender violence in all its forms. Acting as the CAUCASUS 16 DAYS focal point,
WomenAid International-Caucasus has developed three National Coordination
Committees in Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, in a unique collaboration and
partnership of some 500 non-governmental (NGOs) and international organisations.
The ‘CAUCASUS 16 DAYS’ is successfully
bringing men and women, governments and civil society together on one platform
– to end violence against women.
This regional Campaign has also fostered the creation of the CAUCASUS GENDER INSTITUTE with National Focus Groups of three countries working together to raise awareness and develop innovative end-violence strategies. This successful initiative in the Caucasus is being viewed as a good example of collaborative campaigning on a regional scale.
TWIN TRACK STRATEGY
White Ribbon Campaign, a unique
initiative of Canadian men, is the largest effort, in the world, of men
working to end men's violence against women. Following the murder in Montreal of
14 Canadian young girls who were studying to become engineers, the murderer was
asked why he committed such horrific violence. He replied that they were women
and had no right to become engineers. This brutality against young girls
triggered the creation of both the global campaigns – the White Ribbon
and also the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.
16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is a global campaign that runs from 25th November to 10th December. Individuals and groups around the world use this annual campaign as an organizing strategy to call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women. Growing out of the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991, the Campaign links violence against women and human rights, emphasizing that all forms of violence, whether perpetrated in the public or private sphere, are a violation of human rights.
dates that participants chose for the Campaign symbolically make this link:
Now in its twelfth year, the campaign includes many events such as multimedia campaigns, protests, and free services organized by over 1000 organizations in more than 100 countries.
further information please contact the CAUCASUS
16 DAYS PRESS CENTRE at
Tel: (995 32) 37-92-70 firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 1790 or 7976 1032
Official Caucasus 16 Days website: www.womenaid.org/16days
Between the 25th November and the 10th December 2002 a broad range of activities is being organized by NGOs throughout the Caucasus. Events include free legal, medical and psychological consultations, seminars, exhibitions and conferences in Baku, Tbilisi and Yerevan scheduled for Human Rights Day, 10 December. The CAUCASUS 16 DAYS Calendar of Events provides details of all events planned and is available on-line at http://www.womenaid.org/16days/english/calendar2002.html